Stafford gets apology for hit that set up career-defining moment

(Video courtesy of YouTube)

It might be the defining moment of Matthew Stafford’s career.

After C.J. Mosley drilled him into the turf at the end of Browns-Lions in November 2009, separating Stafford’s left shoulder, the rookie told coaches, “I can throw the ball if you need me to throw the ball.”

Stafford eluded team doctors, came back on the field and, with the Lions getting one untimed down at the 1-yard line due to pass interference, hit Brandon Pettigrew for the tying touchdown. Jason Hanson’s extra point gave Detroit a 38-37 win.

Stafford couldn’t lift his left arm. He can be heard wincing as teammates and coaches congratulate him.

Stafford and Mosley met again Wednesday after the 6-2, 310-pound tackle signed a two-year deal with the Lions.

"I actually just ran into Stafford in the locker room today and the first thing he said was, 'I remember this guy," Mosley told "I said, 'Look, man, I apologize.' He said there were no hard feelings. We shook hands. We're cool.

"You can tell the city of Detroit and all the fans that I apologize."

While it was obviously and audibly painful, as you can tell from the video, Stafford burnished his reputation by playing through the injury.

"I almost wanted to cry seeing how tough Matt was at the end," Lions running back Kevin Smith said at the time. "No one knew what his injury was, or how bad he was hurt, but he still came back out there and made a play."

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